Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Time magazine blog post rips Tropicana Field, but gets some facts wrong

The bizarre often rules when it comes to the Tampa Bay Rays and Tropicana Field.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster divulged — then undivulged — a secret plan.

Prospective boyfriend Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan sniffed around with chocolate and roses.

Wall Street mogul Stu Sternberg ran TV ads touting a great stadium experience while his players and manager grumbled about power outages and wacky foul balls.

But what in the name of snark is Time magazine thinking?

Time's online "Keeping Score" sports blog listed the Trop as the nation's third-worst sports venue Thursday, calling it the "one of the most inhospitable stadiums in all of sports."

The Trop will never pass for the Taj. And online "10 best" or "10 worst" lists usually are, by nature, pretty subjective. But even trash talk should meet modest standards of familiarity and, well, accuracy.

The blurb lauded Al Lang Field, where "the Rays play their spring training games" as "one of the more spectacular minor league facilities in the U.S."

Tell that to Charlotte Sports Park, where the Rays have trained since 2009, and the minor league St. Petersburg Devil Rays, who left for Bakersfield 12 years ago.

"It's amazing that a warm-weather destination would choose to lock its baseball team in a giant warehouse," the author wrote.

Maybe he descends from Lapps and could never tire of August's humidity. But in these parts, we lean toward A/C.

Foster chuckled about the Trop resembling "a giant pinball machine populated by whizzing baseballs ready to plop into your $8 Bud Light."

"The sports blog was written by someone who obviously did not do his homework," Foster said. "As if baseballs don't whiz by at any other stadiums."

Jason Seher, the Time writer who authored the blog post, said Thursday evening that he was unaware the Rays no longer trained at Al Lang Field. He published a correction Thursday night.

Seher said he last attended a baseball game in St. Petersburg in 2008.

"I think the Trop is one of the more solidly crappy stadiums on the list," said Seher, a Boston Red Sox fan. "As far as the rankings, it's purely our staff's opinion."

Seher said he has visited the Tampa Bay area multiple times and enjoys spending time in St. Petersburg.

"It's really a lovely place," he said. "I just don't appreciate the stadium."

There were two stadiums Time deemed worse: The home of football's Minnesota Vikings, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, where the roof collapsed during a snowstorm in 2010; and Long Island's Nassau Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders, which was described as an "outdated eyesore" in charmless suburbia rumored to have an asbestos problem.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report.

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